As Walmart's first Neighborhood Market grocery store in the Northwest prepares for a May opening, some employees at the Cornell Road store - as well as delivery drivers - will now be able to work past closing hours to prepare for the next day.
Beaverton's Planning Commission recently approved a conditional-use permit to allow operations- and maintenance-related activity to take place from the store's closing time of 10 p.m. to 7 the next morning.
The permit allows employees of the developing store at 17275 N.W. Cornell Road to re-stock shelves, clean aisles and display cases, take inventory, sweep the parking lot and otherwise keep up the property during those hours, when no shopping or public access would take place. Other allowed activities include 'small truck' deliveries and trash compactor use.
Walmart has applied to the Planning Commission for a similar conditional-use permit for a second Neighborhood Market in Beaverton, in the former Zupan's market at 8225 S.W. Apple Way. That 25,000-square-foot market is set to open this fall.
The Planning Commission will likely consider the application at its April 25 meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Beaverton City Hall, 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive.
Conditional-use permits are required for certain commercially zoned properties located within 500 feet of a residential use in a residential zone, for operations between those hours. The nearest residential units to the Cornell store are about 300 feet to the north and 350 feet to the southwest, based on the nearest property boundary.
At the Planning Commission meeting for the Cornell store in early April, neighbor Carol Lewis expressed concern about the after-hours deliveries. He questioned why a facilities review committee waived traffic studies for the store on the basis of the building being 'repurposed' from its previous incarnation as Ashley Furniture.
'Walmart clearly has more traffic and deliveries than a furniture store,' he said.
Greg Hathaway, a Portland-based attorney representing Walmart at the meeting, stressed the after-hours deliveries would involve small trucks coming from local destinations primarily between 5 and 7 a.m.
'We're going on the record, Walmart does not intend to have large truck deliveries between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.,' he said.
Brian Dickerson, project engineer with Pacland, a Portland-based development consulting company representing Walmart, said typical after-hours deliveries would involve 'smaller' trucks with a minimal impact on noise and activity compared with larger daytime deliveries.
Deliveries would be unloaded using a hand-operated device and a pallet jack and be taken through the store's side door as opposed to the larger rollup doors. Recyclable items would also be baled and processed after hours, and the trash compactor would be run 'once a night, at most,' Dickerson said.
A 10-foot screen wall currently surrounds the compactor and will help diminish noise, city staff concluded.
In an effort to reduce pollutants released into local streams, Dickerson said the parking lot would be swept once a day, and stray shopping carts would also be collected from the parking lot after hours.
City staff recommended that exterior paging systems be prohibited during the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. hours, but otherwise determined the existing barriers would provide sufficient noise buffers to the closest residents.
'Due to the distance and buffering provided by existing commercial buildings, in conjunction with the 10-foot (compactor) wall, the outdoor activities identified by the applicant should not create a perceptible increase in noise beyond what residents might be expected to hear at night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.,' according to a staff report.
Walmart has hired managers for the Cornell store as well as for a planned superstore in West Linn that would employ around 180 workers. The company's website has a listing for a staff pharmacist position in Beaverton.
At 40,000 square feet or less, Walmart's Neighborhood Markets - featuring groceries, including organic foods, and a pharmacy - are a quarter of the size of the company's controversial superstores. The Cornell and Apple Way stores are expected to hire about 95 employees each, according to Walmart officials.
For more information on job opportunities, visit www.careers.walmart.com/SearchJob .